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''Ayin'' (also ''ayn'' or ''ain''; transliterated ) is the sixteenth
letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
of the
Semitic abjads An abjad () is a type of writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the ...
, including
Phoenician Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also

* Phoenix (mythology) * Phoenicia (disambiguation) {{disambiguation Language an ...

Phoenician
,
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...

Hebrew
,
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...

Aramaic
,
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...
ܥ, and
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
(where it is sixteenth in
abjadi order The Abjad numerals, also called Hisab al-Jummal ( ar, حِسَاب ٱلْجُمَّل, ), are a decimal alphabetic numeral system An alphabetic numeral system is a type of numeral system. Developed in classical antiquity, it flourished during th ...
only). The letter represents a
voiced pharyngeal fricative The voiced pharyngeal approximant or fricative is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory pho ...

voiced pharyngeal fricative
() or a similarly articulated consonant. In some Semitic languages and dialects, the phonetic value of the letter has changed, or the phoneme has been lost altogether (thus, in
Modern Hebrew Modern Hebrew ( he, עברית חדשה, ''ʿivrít ḥadašá ', , ''Literal translation, lit.'' "Modern Hebrew" or "New Hebrew"), also known as Israeli Hebrew or Israeli, and generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew ( ), is the ...
it is reduced to a
glottal stop
glottal stop
or is omitted entirely). The Phoenician letter is the origin of the Greek, Latin and Cyrillic letter
O
O
.


Origins

The letter name is derived from
Proto-Semitic Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical Linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language ancestral to the Semitic languages. There is no consensus regarding the location of the Proto-Semitic ''Urheimat''; scholars hypothesize that it may have o ...
"eye", and the Phoenician letter had the shape of a circle or oval, clearly representing an eye, perhaps ultimately (via Proto-Sinaitic) derived from the ''ı͗r''
hieroglyph A hieroglyph (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximat ...
(
Gardiner D4Gardiner may refer to: Places Settlements ;Canada * Gardiner, Ontario ;United States * Gardiner, Maine * Gardiner, Montana * Gardiner (town), New York ** Gardiner (CDP), New York * Gardiner, Oregon * Gardiner, Washington * West Gardiner, Maine ...
). The Phoenician letter gave rise to the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
Ο
Ο
, Latin
O
O
, and
Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is ...
О, all representing vowels. The sound represented by ayin is common to much of the
Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family of about 300 languages that are spoken predominantly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel. ...

Afroasiatic language family
, such as in the
Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamiti ...
, the
Cushitic languages The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication ...

Cushitic languages
and the
Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication u ...

Semitic languages
.


Transliteration

In Semitic philology, there is a long-standing tradition of rendering Semitic ayin with the Greek
rough breathing In the polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, My ...
mark (e.g. ). Depending on typography, this could look similar to either an articulate single opening
quotation mark Quotation marks, also known as quotes, quote marks, speech marks, inverted commas, or talking marks, are punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and cer ...
(e.g. ). or as a raised semi-circle open to the right (e.g. ). This is by analogy to the transliteration of
alef Aleph (or alef or alif, transliterated ʾ) is the first letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, sig ...

alef
(
glottal stop
glottal stop
,
hamza Hamza ( ar, همزة ') () is a letter in the Arabic alphabet The Arabic alphabet ( ar, الْأَبْجَدِيَّة الْعَرَبِيَّة, ' or , ', ), or Arabic abjad, is the as it is codified for writing . It is written from ...
) by the Greek
smooth breathing The smooth breathing ( grc, ψιλὸν πνεῦμα, psilòn pneûma; ell, ψιλή ''psilí''; la, spīritus lēnis) is a diacritical mark A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph adde ...
mark , rendered as single closing
quotation mark Quotation marks, also known as quotes, quote marks, speech marks, inverted commas, or talking marks, are punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and cer ...
or as raised semi-circle open to the left. This convention has been adopted by DIN in 1982 and by ISO in 1984 for Arabic (
DIN 31635 DIN 31635 is a Deutsches Institut für Normung ' (DIN; in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early mediev ...
,
ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rules, conditions ...
) and Hebrew (
DIN 31636 DIN 31636 is the German standard for the Romanization of Hebrew The Hebrew language Hebrew (, , or ) is a of the . Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the and their longest-surviving descendants: the and ...
,
ISO 259 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical ta ...
). The shape of the "raised semi-circle" for ayin [] and alef [] was adopted by the ''Encyclopedia of Islam'' (edited 1913–1938, 1954–2005, and from 2007), and from there by the ''International Journal of Middle East Studies''. This convention has since also been followed by ISO (
ISO 233-2 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral conten ...
and
ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical ta ...
, 1993/4) and by DIN. A notable exception remains,
ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to represent bibliographic information ...
(1991), the system used by the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
, continues to recommend modifier letter turned comma or left single quotation mark . The symbols for the corresponding phonemes in the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest s ...
, for pharyngeal fricative (ayin) and for
glottal stop
glottal stop
(alef) were adopted in the
1928 revision Nineteen or 19 may refer to: * 19 (number), the natural number following 18 and preceding 20 * one of the years 19 BC, AD 19, 1919, 2019 Films * 19 (film), ''19'' (film), a 2001 Japanese film * Nineteen (film), ''Nineteen'' (film), a 1987 scie ...
. In anglicized Arabic or Hebrew names or in loanwords, ayin is often omitted entirely:
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
,
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...
, Saudi , etc.;
Afula Afula ( he, עֲפוּלָה, ar, العفولة) is a city in the Northern District of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Isra ...
, Arad , etc. In Arabic, the presence of ayin in front of ''u'' can sometimes be inferred even if it is not rendered separately, as the vowel quality is shifted towards ''o'' (e.g.
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
,
Omar ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb ( ar, عمر بن الخطاب; 3 November 644), also spelled Omar, was the second Rashidun caliph , image = تخطيط كلمة الخلفاء الراشدون.png , caption = Calligraphic Calligra ...
, etc.)
Maltese Maltese may refer to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to Malta * Maltese alphabet * Maltese cuisine * Maltese culture * Maltese language, the Semitic language spoken by Maltese people * Maltese people, people from Malta or of Maltese ...
, which uses a Latin alphabet, the only Semitic language to do so in its
standard formStandard form may refer to: In mathematics and science *Canonical form *Linear equation#General (or standard) form, Standard form (''Ax'' + ''By'' = ''C'') – a common form of a linear equation *The more common term for normalis ...
, writes the ayin as . It is usually unvocalized in speech. The
Somali Latin alphabet The Somali Latin alphabet is an official writing script in the Federal Republic of Somalia and its constituent Federal Member States. It was developed by a number of leading scholars of Somali, including Musa Haji Ismail Galal, B. W. Andrzej ...

Somali Latin alphabet
represents the ʿayin with the letter . The informal way to represent it in
Arabic chat alphabet The Arabic chat alphabet, ''Arabizi'' (, ), Franco-Arabic (, , or ), Arabish, Araby ( ar, عربي, ), and Mu'arrab (), refer to the Romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language ...
uses the digit as transliteration.


Unicode

In
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
, the recommended character for the transliteration of ayin is (a character in the
Spacing Modifier Letters Spacing Modifier Letters is a Unicode blockA Unicode block is one of several contiguous ranges of numeric character codes ( code points) of the Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent chara ...
range, even though it is here not used as a modifier letter but as a full grapheme). This convention has been adopted by
ISO 233-2 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral conten ...
(1993) for Arabic and
ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical ta ...
(1994) for Hebrew. There are a number of alternative Unicode characters in use, some of which are easily confused or even considered equivalent in practice: *̔ (U+0314 ), the character recommended to represent Greek
rough breathing In the polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, My ...
), * single opening
quotation mark Quotation marks, also known as quotes, quote marks, speech marks, inverted commas, or talking marks, are punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and cer ...
‘ (U+2018), * ʻ (U+02BB ), * ʽ (U+02BD ), * the
grave accent The grave accent ( ` ) ( or ) is a diacritical A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter (alphabet), letter or to a basic glyph. The term derives from th ...

grave accent
` U+0060, from its use as single opening quotation mark in
ASCII ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to graphical Graphics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, ...
environments, used for ayin in
ArabTeX ArabTeX is a free software package providing support for the Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middl ...
. Other variants chosen to represent ayin as a full grapheme (rather than a sign suggestive of an apostrophe or a diacritic): * a superscript c (c, or ᶜ U+1D9C ), * the
IPA IPA commonly refers to: * India pale ale, a style of beer * International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script Latin script, also ...
symbol for
pharyngealization Pharyngealization is a secondary articulation In phonetics, secondary articulation occurs when the articulation of a consonant is equivalent to the combined articulations of two or three simpler consonants, at least one of which is an approximant ...

pharyngealization
, (U+02C1 , U+02E4 ), or a superscript (ʕ, U+0295 ), the
IPA IPA commonly refers to: * India pale ale, a style of beer * International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script Latin script, also ...
symbol for
voiced pharyngeal fricative The voiced pharyngeal approximant or fricative is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory pho ...

voiced pharyngeal fricative
. It is worth noting that the phonemes corresponding to alef and ayin in
Ancient Egyptian Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistori ...
are by convention
transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of ha ...
by more distinctive signs: Egyptian alef is rendered by ''two'' semi-circles open to the left, stacked vertically, and Egyptian ayin is rendered by a single full-width semi-circle open to the right. These characters were introduced in Unicode in version 5.1 (2008,
Latin Extended-D Latin Extended-D is a Unicode blockA Unicode block is one of several contiguous ranges of numeric character codes ( code points) of the Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character enco ...
range), ꜣ U+A723 and ꜥ U+A725 .


Hebrew ayin

Hebrew spelling: ʿayin, along with
Aleph Aleph (or alef or alif, transliterated ʾ) is the first letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, sig ...
,
Resh Resh is the twentieth letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as represen ...

Resh
, He and
Heth Heth, sometimes written Chet, but more accurately Ḥet, is the eighth letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that ...
, cannot receive a
dagesh The dagesh () is a diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a comp ...

dagesh
.


Phonetic representation

ʿayin has traditionally been described as a
voiced pharyngeal fricative The voiced pharyngeal approximant or fricative is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory pho ...

voiced pharyngeal fricative
(). However, this may be imprecise. Although a pharyngeal fricative has occasionally been observed for ʿayin in Arabic and so may occur in Hebrew as well, the sound is more commonly epiglottal (),Ladefoged, Peter & Ian Maddieson (1996). ''The sounds of the world's languages''. Oxford: Blackwells. and may also be a
pharyngealized Pharyngealization is a secondary articulation of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced wi ...

pharyngealized
glottal stop (). In some historical Sephardi and Ashkenazi pronunciations, ʿayin represented a
velar nasal The voiced velar nasal, also known as agma, from the Greek word for 'fragment', is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans ...

velar nasal
(). Remnants can be found in the Yiddish pronunciations of some words such as /ˈjaŋkəv/ and /ˈmansə/ from Hebrew (''yaʿăqōḇ'', "Jacob") and (''maʿăse'', "story"), but in other cases, the nasal has disappeared and been replaced by /j/, such as /ˈmajsə/ and /ˈmajrəv/ from Hebrew and (''maʿărāḇ'', "west"). In Israeli Hebrew (except for Mizrahi pronunciations), it represents a glottal stop in certain cases but is usually silent (it behaves the same as
aleph Aleph (or alef or alif, transliterated ʾ) is the first letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, sig ...
). However, changes in adjoining vowels often testify to the former presence of a pharyngeal or epiglottal articulation. As well, it may be used as a
shibboleth A shibboleth () is any Convention (norm), custom or tradition, usually a choice of phrasing or even a single word, that distinguishes one group of people from another. Shibboleths have been used throughout history in many societies as passwords, ...
to identify the social background of a speaker, as
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technica ...

Arabs
and some of the
Mizrahim Mizrahi Jews ( he, יהודי המִזְרָח) or ''Mizrahim'' (), also sometimes referred to as Mizrachi (), Edot HaMizrach (; ) or Oriental Jews, are the descendants of the local Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Isra ...
(mainly of Yemenite origin) use the more traditional pronunciation, while other Hebrew speakers pronounce it similar to Aleph. Ayin is also one of the three letters that can take a furtive
patach Pataḥ ( he, פַּתַח ', , Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest S ...
(). In Hebrew loanwords in Greek and Latin, ʿayin is sometimes reflected as /g/, since the biblical phonemes (or "ʿ") and (represented by "g") were both represented in Hebrew writing by the letter ʿayin (see Ġain). Gomorrah is from the original (modern ''ʿAmora'') and
Gaza Gaza may refer to: Places Palestine * Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea ** Gaza City, a city in the Gaza Strip ** Gaza Governorate, a governorate in the Gaza Strip United States * Gaza, Iowa, an ...
from the original (''ʿaza'') (cf. Arabic غزة Ġazzah, IPA: ɣazza) In Yiddish, the ʿayin is used to write the vowel e when it is not part of the
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
''ey''.


Significance

In
gematria Gematria (; he, גמטריא or gimatria , plural or , ''gimatriot'') is the practice of assigning a numerical value A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, ...
, ʿayin represents the number 70. ʿayin is also one of the seven letters which receive special crowns (called '' tagin'') when written in a
sefer Torah . Torah scroll at old Glockengasse Synagogue The Synagogue in Glockengasse was a synagogue in Cologne built to the plans of the architect of the Cologne Cathedral, Ernst Friedrich Zwirner. It was built on the previous Monastery of St. Clarissa ...
.


Arabic ʿayn

The Arabic letter (called ) is the eighteenth letter of the
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
. It is written in one of several ways depending on its position in the word:


Pronunciation

Arabic ʿayn is one of the most common letters in Arabic. Depending on the region, it ranges from a pharyngeal to an epiglottal . It is
voiced Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics Phonetics is a branch of that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of s, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study th ...
, its unvoiced counterpart being . Due to its position as the innermost letter to emerge from the throat,
al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi Abu ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān al-Khalīl ibn Aḥmad ibn ‘Amr ibn Tammām al-Farāhīdī al-Zahrāni al-Azdī al-Yaḥmadī ( ar, أبو عبدالرحمن الخليل بن أحمد الفراهيدي الزهراني; 718 – 786 CE), known as Al- ...
, who wrote the first Arabic dictionary, actually started writing with as the first letter instead of the eighteenth; he viewed its origins deep down in the throat as a sign that it was the first sound, the essential sound, the voice and a representation of the self.Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, ''The Mute Immortals Speak: Pre-Islamic Poetry and the Poetics of Ritual'', pg. 178. Cornell Studies in Political Economy.
Ithaca, New York Ithaca is a city and college town A college town or university town is a community (often a separate town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criter ...
:
Cornell University Press The Cornell University Press is a division of Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingd ...
, 1993.
In the Persian language and other languages using the Persian alphabet, it is pronounced as (glottal stop), and rarely as in some languages. As in Hebrew, the letter originally stood for two sounds, and . When pointing was developed, the sound was distinguished with a dot on top (), to give the letter ''ghayn''. In Maltese, which is written with the Latin alphabet, the digraph , called ''ʿajn'', is used to write what was originally the same sound. Because the sound is difficult for most non-Arabs to pronounce, it is often used as a shibboleth by Arabic speakers; other sounds, such as and are also used.


Character encodings


See also

*
Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian #REDIRECT Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian #REDIRECT Transliteration of Ancient EgyptianIn the field of Egyptology, transliteration of Ancient Egyptian is the process of converting (or mapping) texts written in the Egyptian language to alphabetic ...


Notes


References


External links

* {{Northwest Semitic abjad Phoenician alphabet Arabic letters Hebrew alphabet